AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 - preview

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FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0

AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution v2.0

AMD unleashes its FidelityFX Super Resolution technology last year as an answer to combat DLSS from NVIDIA. Today AMD releases a glimpse of what's next, version 2.0. Will the new feature update make enough of a difference, and is image quality, not an issue? Let's try and see so you know what you can expect. 

Why FideltyFX Super Resolution?

We've mentioned this in all our Radeon RX 6000 series reviews; currently, AMD's most significant deficit is that they do not have a solution at hand that matches DLSS from NVIDIA. NVIDIA wins every, and each time a game adds DLSS. NVIDIA did that very clever; they added Tensor cores in hardware on NVIDIA's RTX series over two years ago, which will always work out better for NVIDIA. So here we are; a few years later, AMD had decided not to implement a hardware solution as NVIDIA does. As a result of negative feedback, they needed to develop all kinds of ominous ideas to answer the lack of that feature. I mean, when you think about it concerning technologies like DLSS or DirectML, AMD always will be behind in either image quality or performance. Even with pending DirectML support and now technology like FidelityFX Super Resolution, you need to realize; it still needs to be run over the existing compute engine as some sort of shader code. So no matter how we look at it, there will be a compromise, whereas NVIDIA can offload its ML supersampling to the tensor cores. It's the sole reason why they implemented these specific DL/AI cores in the first place. Up to last week, we've not been 100% sure how AMD is applying FideltyFX Super-Resolution. Even after a briefing with AMD, they did not precisely explain that, but logic dictates this is a simply shader running over the render engine, with two extra passes.

FSR 1.0

AMD presented an 'answer' towards NVIDIA's DLSS and unveiled its FidelityFX Super Resolution. Nowhere in AMD's documentation though AMD mentions DLSS, as they know, they're not even in the same or similar ballpark. Where DLSS is a deep learning technique that uses artificial intelligence to improve rendered frames, FidelityFX Super Resolution is merely an algorithmic spatial scaler. FSR does not use any machine learning or inference. While it is an interesting instrument that creates additional performance, we think we can already conclude that it is in no way comparable to an AI-powered image scaling system. However, my first impression of the technique applied is not at all negative; FidelityFX Super Resolution in its  'Ultra Quality' mode certainly looks okay, but there's bound to be a reduction in the visual quality of the games. In AMD's defense, you can argue that DLSS also showed minor image deterioration in the early stages of the technology. The technology allows you to choose from four presets performance, balanced, quality, and ultra quality mode.  So please do understand this well, FSR isn’t a representation of DLSS; Nvidia’s tech works by training an artificial intelligence (A.I.) model with high-quality scans, which they perform offline (try to imagine 16K still frames where their algorithm is learning from). DLSS can then fill in the extra information in a frame using that A.I. model. On its end, FSR uses a common and fixed supersampling technique with one upscaling and one sharpening pass.

FSR Quality mode Scale factor Input resolution for 2560X1440
FSR output
Input resolution for 3860x2140
FSR output
Ultra Quality 1.3x 1970x1108 2954x1662
Quality 1.5x 1706x960 2560x1440
Balanced 1.7x 1506x847 2259x1270
Performance 2.0x 1280x720 1920x1080

It uses linear and non-linear upscaling facilitates both the preservation of the color and larger-scale features (large objects and shapes that are more easily observed by the human eye) of the image from linear upscaling as well as the preservation of finer features (e.g., curved features and features that are not effortlessly observed in low resolution) of the image from non-linear upscaling. The original (lower-res) image will pass through a linear upscaling network and a non-linear upscaling network at the same time, extracting different bits of information through each path. FSR blends these images to produce a pixel grid, then expands on each pixel for a higher-res image. After frame clean-up, you have your refurbished image. In the end, I would label this entire paragraph as a spatial upscaling technology with an added sharpening pass, as simple as that.

FSR 2.0

FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 was created by AMD with both gamers and developers in mind. FSR 2.0 provides features and benefits to gamers looking for an upscaling solution to enhance their gaming experiences FSR 2.0 enables increased performance for more responsive and high-quality gaming experiences, as well as when intensive effects such as raytracing are enabled – with scalable performance across different quality presets. FSR 2.0 additionally uses temporal data to offer image quality that is comparable to or better than native at all resolutions, and it features enhanced anti-aliasing. FSR 2.0 supports a wide range of products and platforms, including consoles and certain competition graphics cards, just like FSR 1.0. AMD mentions FSR 2.0 is simple to implement into games and will be provided as a simple, intuitive API, with a workflow similar to previous temporal solutions. It will also have a plug-in for Unreal Engine 4 and, later, Unreal Engine 5. FSR 2.0 will be accessible for developers in Q2 2022 as an open-source API with an MIT license and will support DirectX12 and Vulkan.How FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 works Both AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution 1.0 and 2.0, like all upscaling solutions, lower the render resolution of the game to significantly improve performance then upscale the lower resolution input back to your target resolution.

FSR 2.0 technology is a temporal upscaling solution with very good image quality that is the result of many years of research into upscaling technologies. It has been built by AMD from the ground up to deliver similar or better than native image quality and help boost framerates in supported games.


Figure 1

FSR 2.0 temporal upscaling uses frame color, depth, and motion vectors in the rendering process to provide very high-quality upscaled output, as well as very high-quality anti-aliasing. In contrast, spatial upscaling systems like as FSR 1.0 take data from the current frame to generate the upscaled output and rely on separate anti-aliasing built into a game's rendering process. Because of these distinctions, FSR 2.0 produces much better image quality than FSR 1.0 at all quality mode presets and screen resolutions. FSR 2.0 is implemented earlier in the frame pipeline than FSR 1.0. (see Fig. 2). Figure 2: When FSR 2.0 is embedded in a frame Developers will find it easier to integrate FSR 2.0 into games that already have a temporal upscaling rendering path because FSR 2.0 requires the three data points in the Fig. 1 diagram. Keeping this in mind, while FSR 2.0, like FSR 1.0, is still simple for developers to incorporate into their games, integration time estimations might vary — it can be as short as a few days for games that already have the necessary temporal upscaling data in place. However, integration may take longer for games that lack motion vectors or support for decoupled display and render resolutions.


Figure 2

FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 includes various quality options that allow you to tailor the balance of visual quality to performance to your liking. FSR 2.0 includes three primary quality modes that you can expect to see in any games that use the technology, as well as one optional mode that developers can employ if they like. AMD made a few changes to the modes since FSR 1.0, with the highest quality level now being "Quality," which corresponds to the modes available in other popular temporal upscaling methods. The other two basic modes are "Balanced" and "Performance," with data on each mode provided in the table below.


Game support

While FSR 1.0 just got native support in the driver one of the bigger issues with FideltyFX v2.0 Super Resolution is that it'll need to be supported within the actual game itself, so your scope of games will be limited until it gets embedded into the driver as well. 

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